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Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection)

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  4,554 Ratings  ·  296 Reviews
Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast, and slow, asleep

Completed only a month before Dylan Thomas died, Under Milk Wood is an inspired and irreverent account of life and love in a small coastal village in Wales one spring day. Full of raucous energy and lyrical passion, it is the most complete expression of Thomas' unique perspective on the huma

Audio CD, 1 page
Published April 2nd 2001 by BBC Books (first published 1953)
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Marqueemoon A bit late but for anyone considering getting an audio version I can highly recommend the 1954 version with Richard Burton from Naxos AudioBooks - as…moreA bit late but for anyone considering getting an audio version I can highly recommend the 1954 version with Richard Burton from Naxos AudioBooks - as well as Under Milk Wood there are a couple of radio broadcasts with Dylan Thomas reading his own work. There are other versions - a 1963 BBC play which also had Burton narrating and has lines not used in the 1954 version. I find the voices in the 54 reading much more captivating. IN the 63 version some actors seem to be the same as the 54 recording but some are definitely not. In both the songs are great, perfectly positioned, simple and natural. If I can't sleep I put this on my tablet, not because it is boring but because you can drift off into the world of llareggub and to the wonderful performances of the actors, most of whom must be dead after 60 plus years.(less)

Community Reviews

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Feb 20, 2014 s.penkevich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The lovers, the dreamers, and me
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Lauren
Shelves: poetry, plays, dreamlike
We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood.

The voices of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood rise and fall, crashing into each other like waves under a milky moon, their sweet prose an effervescence of sounds and syllables to intoxicate the soul. This ‘play for voices’ follows the lives of the citizens of Milk Wood across a full day, bookmarked by the surrealistically sensational dream sequences of the two nights. The play simply engulfs you in its beautiful embrace, like the wa
Petra Eggs
Jun 30, 2008 Petra Eggs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rewritten July 30th, 2011, read way back when and reread 2011

Some works of literature just beg to be read out loud - This is the House that Jack Built and Hiawatha are two that most people are familiar with. Under Milk Wood too, is better appreciated read aloud.

A sample (read aloud with Welsh accent, sing-song, go up like a question at the end of the line):


Mr Pugh, in the School House opposite, takes up the morning
tea to Mrs Pugh, and whispers on the stairs


Here's your arseni
Mar 20, 2008 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I can honestly say that the world would be a lesser place if I had never read this play. It is not just that it is laugh-out-loud funny or that it is sad enough to make me weep - Captain Cat being forgotten by Rosie near the end is almost too painful to remember. But it is so full, so wonderfully overflowing with all the day to day concerns of life and love that it is a world in and of itself. Here is true creative genius.

From husbands purchasing books on how to poison their wives to the terribl
Mar 03, 2017 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"This town's as full as a lovebird's egg."
- Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood


This book has languished on my shelf.
Left alone.

I bought this book years ago. It was a deal. It was a steal. It was $2 at Goodwill. I recognized Dylan Thomas and knew it was a Folio edition. $2? Value? Done. I brought it home, put it on the shelf. Thought about it only narrowly. I figured it was a book of poetry. Poems. Fights against the dying of the light and whatnots.

Nope. It is certainly poetic. Lyrical. Whims
I like Dylan Thomas for two reasons
1. I grew up in Wales
2. I read his book Under Milk Wood when I was in school.

Wales is a strange place to grow up. For a start you're told as a child that it's full of castles and dragons and daffodils and that there is evil over the border (England) and that Rugby is the one true sport. Some of those things are true. I'm sure even Dylan Thomas thought them from time to time. I lived outside Cardiff and Thomas was busily engaged in being Welsh in and around the
A smorgasbord of language. I am still blown away every time I read that first measured sentence, about the woodland ‘limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea’.

If you only knew Dylan Thomas from his short poems (as I did before I read this) then prepare for a very pleasant shock. The wonderful rhythm of the lines here, the extraordinary creativity of compound words and unexpected similes, all sustained over a considerable distance, is something quit
Dec 09, 2014 Mimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like wordplay
Not a play or a poem, exactly. This was written to be performed as a BBC radio drama, and it's about life in a sleepy town in Wales. We follow a few characters as they go from dream to wakefulness and then move through the rest of their day. We get to hear their thoughts and reflections as they do every day things. Sounds very dull, I know, which is why you have to read (or listen to) it for yourself.

In the tradition of small towns (both fictional and nonfictional), everyone has a big secret. Ea
Mar 15, 2014 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember the first time I came across Under Milk Wood, and it was when I was learning about imagery for my GCSEs. I fell in love with it - and, of course, with Richard Burton's beautiful First Voice.

One joy of being an English teacher is teaching your favourite texts to someone new - which I'm pretty sure was what was happening to to me, the first time I was taught this. It wasn't on the syllabus.

Another joy is that you can take playful, inventive, poetic language and give it to a kid who's in
Jul 07, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays-seen

Dylan Thomas originally intended this work to be radio play. However, my first experience of it was seeing the film adaptation narrated by Richard Burton, back when I was in high school in the 1970s. I remember two things about the experience: loving the sound of Richard Burton's voice, and feeling overwhelmed. This extract from the review in the New York Times goes some way to explaining my reaction:
Too many words, perhaps, for the stage. Too many words, I'm convinced, for the screen. It's not
Jane Jago
Jan 25, 2017 Jane Jago rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This just takes my breath away.

The language. The evocation of time and place.

The exquisite rhythm.

I'm in love with this piece of work
Vit Babenco
Feb 04, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Sundown dazzling day gold through my eyes but my eyes turned within only see starless and bible black…” King CrimsonStarless.
Under Milk Wood has a texture of a lyrical myth so it is timeless…
People sleep and they dream... People wake up and they play fools, dawdle, muck around, misbehave, recollect, fantasize and build castles in the air…
“There's the clip clop of horses on the sun-honeyed cobbles of the humming streets, hammering of horse-shoes, gobble quack and cackle, tomtit twitter from t
Jul 06, 2012 Mike rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one, for we must be compassionate to all sentient beings
If I could go back in time about 45 minutes ago and beat myself into a bloody, vegetative state, or at least into an illiterate delirium, so that I wouldn't have read this book, I would. If I could fit pliers into my ears so that I could rip out the sound of this play from my head forever, I would. If I could dig up Dylan Thomas' body and rig it with explosives and blow it up, making me blind from the concussion and so ensuring that I never accidentally read so much as a line of this again, beca ...more
Oct 10, 2016 Bam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here we enter the lives of the residents of Milk Wood, a Welsh seaside town, first through their dreams, then through their daytime interactions with each other. As in all of our lives, some moments are terribly laugh-out-loud funny, some poignantly sad. Dylan Thomas was quite the wordsmith! Sub-titled "A Play for Voices," I would love to hear voices perform this play someday.
Kevin Ansbro

I don't know Llarregub about many things, but I do know that Thomas's sloe black, crow black, boat-bobbing, poetic creation was one of the most enjoyable books that I read in school.
If you haven't yet acquainted yourself with his magical mischievousness, then please do!
Sep 26, 2009 notgettingenough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, drama


Give me the parcel.

WILLY NILLY [postman whose wife reads all the mail to him before he delivers it:]

It's for Mr Pugh, Mrs Pugh.


Never you mind. What's inside it?


A book called Lives of the Great Poisoners.



Persons with manners do not read at table,


says Mrs Pugh. She swallows a digestive tablet as big as a
horse-pill, washing it down with clouded peasoup water.



Some persons were brought up in pigsties.


Pigs don't r
Dec 04, 2015 Gary rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Dylan Thomas fans, Richard Burton fans, poetry lovers
Recommended to Gary by: Colchester Royal Grammar School, c1976
Under Milk Wood is exactly what it says it is - a play for voices; and no-one's voice does it more justice than that of Richard Burton, a Welshman whose reading of this work is committed, passionate, resonant, rich and second-to-none.
I should also say that this is not a monologue. Burton is the narrator but there is also a full cast of actors reading all the parts, which brings the play to life and gives it depth.
If you liked reading the play, listen to this and feel its power. I might try liste
Stuart Aken
Sep 16, 2013 Stuart Aken rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many years ago, I bought the vinyl LP of the BBC radio production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood. It’s subtitled, ‘A Play for Voices’, and that’s about as accurate a description as I can think of. The radio production is superb, with the brilliant Richard Burton articulating the First Voice in his own inimitable style. A wonderful listening experience.

But what of the text? I picked up a copy from a small independent bookshop whilst shopping in Beverley with my daughter for a student cook book,
Apr 12, 2009 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, classics
Dylan Thomas writes so amazingly beautifully. The story just flows and it is like music. The story is about nothing and yet about everything - just the ordinary nuances of life and community. The differences between the people in the town and their lives. I strongly recommend you read this - or watch a production of it.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

Come closer now.

Only you can hear the houses sleeping in the streets in the slow deep salt and
silent black, bandaged night. Only you can see, in
Dec 04, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This 1954 BBC recording featuring Richard Burton is a tour de force performance. Dylan Thomas had a sensitive ear for the rhythms of speech that informed his accentual verse and an imaginative approach to descriptive language that contributed both to his immense popularity during his all-too-brief life and after and to the dismissal of his work by many modern academic poets unable to see his value because of their tunnel-vision views of what modern poetry should be. To hear his words brought to ...more
Apr 16, 2011 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A radio 'feature', rather than a play, according to the introduction to my edition, Under Milk Wood is amazing. It's full of lively, unique description, a rapidfire sketch of village life. I can't even pick out a part I like best because all of it is vivacious and interesting. The description, on the first page, for just one example, of the night, 'starless and bible-black'. Dylan Thomas knew what he was doing when it came to language, at all times, and it shows.

The introduction to this edition,
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Apr 30, 2016 Samir Rawas Sarayji rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: play
This is technically brilliant. Obviously Dylan was at home with the English lexicon and brought all his poetic prowess to the play, full of alliteration, melody and word play. And then...? There is little substance otherwise, the content falls flat and the concept of witnessing these villagers dreams at night and actions during the day is just too gimmicky. I have gained nothing by witnessing their lives and dreams.

A great aesthetic play, but that's where it stops for me.
Lauren  Highton
When Under Milk Wood was first performed in New York in 1953, Dylan Thomas’ advice to the cast was to ‘Love the words, love the words’. And reading Under Milk Wood, or better yet hearing it, the truth of this advice reveals itself. Written originally as a radio play, this really is a ‘play for voices’, and you imagine, performed visually, it must lose some of its potency (this is something I would like to find out for myself, one day.*) It stands alone in its language—its rich, punchy, poetic la ...more
Jan 31, 2017 Rhys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Believe it or not, this is the first time I have read this extraordinary play properly... We had to read it in school. I didn't really understand it back then, though I quite liked it. But I remembered very little of it, apart from the scene with the ghosts of Captain Cat's crewmen and the fact that one of the female characters used lipstick on her nipples (at the time I just found this inexplicable; now I find it merely eccentric). Although I dipped into the play in the ensuing years, I never r ...more
Ruth Bonetti
Dec 30, 2016 Ruth Bonetti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've heard this performed but this is a first to read and savour how Dylan Thomas plays and paints with words. He sketches characters' foibles and personalities in telling phrases:
"...coiled grey like a dormouse, her paws to her ears."

Authors are told to keep sentences short for 21st century attention spans. Thomas has no such qualms, his words tumble visual and tactile waterfalls. They sparkle with colour, energy and vitality. The descriptions may challenge present day writers to break accepted
Jun 14, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A day in a Welsh town. Surreal, yet Thomas creates vivid characters and weaves them together beautifully.
John Winterson
Most actual Welsh people have a conflict of emotions about Dylan Thomas. On the one hand, we take pride in his international success and his undoubted ability, at least on his better days, to put together a phrase that rings in the mind. Yet, at the same time, no modern author did more to cement the image of our ancient warrior-race as ‘quaint,’ to use Professor Schama’s notorious expression.

Both sides of Dylan are on display in ‘Under Milk Wood,’ his play for voices, probably his most ambitious
Aug 27, 2012 Zee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK, I don't know what this is, but it's not your average play... Under Milk Wood is something else. It deserves its own category. Shortly before his death I reckon Dylan Thomas came sublimely close to the perfect narrative. Readers of 'Cold Comfort Farm' will definitely recognise an Aunt Ada Doom-ish humour that rides on the coattails of stream of consciousness.

Under Milk Wood is very hard to pin down as it's a mix of so many things, and that's what makes it so astonishingly brilliant. It delve
May 21, 2015 Taka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2015

Well, I’m officially a Dylan Thomas fan. At first, I thought, “A poet writing a play? Hmmm….” But then the moment I read the opening line, I had to read the entire thing: “It is Spring, moonless night int he small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea.”

Not surprisingly, there isn’t much of a plot here, really. It’s more of a lyrical an
Nov 29, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Under Milk Wood has a lot of similarities with Ulysses. Large cast, no story but with a lot happening, set in a seaside town, the whole work set in a limited timeframe and is meant to be read aloud. This Play for Voices has more references of sexual innuendo than an album of blues songs. It has some great lines of poetry.

I give it three stars on the page and five stars audio.

I hadn't read Under Milk Wood before I saw the film version in the early 1970s at the cinema. I loved the film, and what a
Jan 09, 2008 Stewart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first saw this play, finished only days before Dylan Thomas died in 1953 at age 39, in its movie form. I enjoyed the movie so much, I found a used paperback of the play. The play takes us on a walking tour over a day of a mythical small Welsh fishing village and one by one the residents speak. The play starts: "It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible to the sloeback, slow, b ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add new ebook edition 3 15 Oct 17, 2014 04:01AM  
  • Plays 5: Arcadia / The Real Thing / Night and Day / Indian Ink / Hapgood
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  • Collected Shorter Poems, 1927-1957
  • Three Tragedies: Blood Wedding, Yerma, Bernarda Alba
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  • The Maids & Deathwatch
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Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet who wrote in English. He is regarded by many as one of the 20th century's most influential poets.

In addition to poetry, Thomas also wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, with the latter frequently performed by Thomas himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his booming, at times ostentatious, voice with a subt
More about Dylan Thomas...

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“The only sea I saw Was the seesaw sea With you riding on it. Lie down, lie easy. Let me shipwreck in your thighs.” 178 likes
“Now behind the eyes and secrets of the dreamers in the streets rocked to sleep by the sea, see the titbits and topsyturvies, bobs and buttontops, bags and bones, ash and rind and dandruff and nailparings, saliva and snowflakes and moulted feathers of dreams, the wrecks and sprats and shells and fishbones, whale-juice and moonshine and small salt fry dished up by the hidden sea.” 76 likes
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